The famed illustrator, author, architect, and even food editor (for Playboy) was back in New York after a long absence to promote the re-publication of many of his books by Phaidon Press. My daughter and I spent last Thursday evening at the Society of Illustrators listening to Tomi and the great, Jules Feiffer, talking, joking and reminiscing about their shared time in New York in the Sixties and Seventies. Tomi also spoke about his farm in Nova Scotia and the reality of raising animals. On my way home, I was flipping through one of my sketchbooks and found a drawing I thought fit perfectly with Tomi’s farm stories. On Saturday, I headed down to Phaidon’s bookstore on Wooster Street, where Tomi did a short drawing session to the delight of the children (and grown-up children) in the audience. Afterwards, Tomi spent some time signing books including two for me. His great children’s book, “The Three Robbers” and his recollections of the years he and his wife spent on their farm in Nova Scotia.
After Tomi’s talk, I handed the sketch to his daughter but at the same moment he came by and she kindly said to give it to him personally. He was very nice, with a “but you are a professional illustrator.” Later he signed my book for me and gave a rousing handshake.
You still have a chance to meet Tomi before he heads back to Europe. He’ll be in Amherst (Massachussetts) for a book signing celebrating the opening of Tomi Ungerer: Chronicler of the Absurd at Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, located 125 West Bay Road on June 19 (1 PM). It’s free with museum admission.
Here’s Tomi sketching and then the sketch I gave to him (also used on this blog long ago).
"Let's make a deal. Instead of me eating the slop to get fat so that you can eat me. Why don't you eat the slop and we can cut out the middleman?